Usually I pick up a GQ Magazine because of certain interviews or they have one of my favorite male celebrities on the cover. This months issue dubbed the “Style Bible” caught my eye even more than usual. The magazine took certain styles that famous men are often sporting and linked them together with a clean graphic using cutouts and color. It illustrated that style usually stems from someone else. Along with graphics to break down the most fashionable pieces, the magazine included clean text with headlines graphically pleasing to the story. It was interesting to see how a men’s magazine uses their design versus women’s. Women magazines usually have lots of photos with bright colors versus GQ’s white space and neutral colors. This had strong graphics along with illustrations to display an idea. It was interesting to see pages full of small graphics and side stories about specific pieces and still look clean. Along with good, clean design, it was nice to guys in well-fitted suits, versus the shorts and snapbacks due to the warm weather that has graced East Lansing.
Visit http://www.gq.com/style for a look into the “Style Bible”
By Liam Zanyk McLean
Last updated: 03/20/12 9:28pm
Approximately 2.6 billion people in the world don’t have access to a clean toilet, many of whom are in the developing world. Living in a society where people do not have clean places to relieve themselves can lead to widespread disease and uncleanliness.
Jack Sim, aka Mr. Toilet, is a Singaporean businessman who founded the World Toilet Organization in 2001. The organization works with the aim to design and construct cost-effective and stylish toilets that will convince people around the world that a toilet is an item of necessity.
The organization hosts an annual World Toilet Summit, the most recent in China’s Hainan Province in 2011. The summit showcases a variety of toilet designs that add comfort and privacy to pooping.
The organization also wants to drive down the cost of toilets, and the annual summit is a great opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their designs.
If you’re a huge nerd like me, you’ve probably said the words, “’Star Wars’ was my childhood.” But what most people don’t know is that a man named Ralph McQuarrie is responsible for all of that.
McQuarrie was a conceptual designer who passed away on March 3 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. Those super-iconic Star Wars images, like Darth Vader’s mask and lightsabers? Thank McQuarrie for those. He designed X-Wings, Star Destroyers and Death Stars. It wasn’t George Lucas. Lucas probably gave him a rough idea of what he wanted. But there’s no way he could have envisioned the enduring images that McQuarrie dropped in his inbox in 1976.
Google McQuarrie and you’ll be assaulted by hundreds of beautiful paintings that are not only relics of geek art, but served as final drafts for the sculptors and model makers that worked on the films. It’s amazing how unchanged his concepts appear in the final film.
McQuarrie, working with a blank canvas, imagined up concepts that we Star Wars geeks take for granted. He only worked on the original trilogy, not the prequel trilogy, which is perhaps part of the reason those films are less memorable. There is no signature design like the Millennium Falcon or Tauntaun. Most of the memorable designs in the new films piggyback off McQuarrie’s original trilogy concepts.
Designing from scratch is tough. Most designs these days have clear sources of inspiration. But McQuarrie was an original. His work has inspired sci-fi and fantasy design for the past 40 years. He was a hero for graphic designers, he colored our childhoods and he will be missed.
Logos play such a large role in the world we live in today. They are splashed all over magazine ads, TV shows, the inside of your refrigerator, everywhere. Because of the constant bombardment, people put on their blinders and become blissfully unaware of this branding.
But that’s where designers come in.
The challenge logo designers face is to not only make a logo that is aesthetically pleasing but is a good representative of the brand as well. Lindon Leader, the designer of the FedEx logo, found this balance through the use of a subliminal message in the corporation’s logo.
Many people have discovered the hidden arrow strategically tucked between the E and x of the FedEx logo. In an interview Leader discussed his decision to incorporate the arrow “as a symbol for speed and precision, both FedEx communicative attributes.” When asked about the subtlety of the arrow and its effectiveness, Leader had an interesting answer: “It is a positive-reverse optical kind of thing; either you see it or you don’t. … Not seeing the arrow does not reduce the impact of the logo’s essential communication. … The logo is strong enough to convey clearly FedEx brand positioning.” The benefit of using this subliminal arrow? If people do see it, it’s something they won’t forget, a goal advertisers have been trying to meet since the beginning of time.
Other major corporations have used this subliminal strategy in their logo designs. The Big Ten conference has subtly placed an 11 within the Big Ten to represent the 11 schools of the conference (before Nebraska was added this past year to make the number 12), to bypass changing their name. Similarly, Baskin Robbins takes advantage of the shapes of the B and R in their logo to cleverly incorporate their tagline of 31 flavors.
Amazon has taken its logo to another level as well with a clean logo with a smile/arrow under it. As a smile, the logo is an indication of customer satisfaction with the company and its products. As an arrow going from the a in amazon to the z, the logo tells consumers the website is a one-stop shop for everything from a to z.
As these examples have illustrated, logo design is a complex science. Through both brand identification and the incorporation of subliminal messages, logos can become more effective marketing tools.
Cole Haan and Nike, two fashion-forward companies have come together to reinvent a classic: the wingtip.
Nike’s high profile Lunar running sole has been forged together with the classic leather styling of a wingtip from Cole Haan to create the LunarGrand Wingtip in Leather. The collaboration gives the wingtip a brand-new identity and allows for innovation in a pretty bland style.
Cole Haan, owned by Nike, has been pushing their fashion for years, and as this new styling has emerged on blogs during the past week, it’s met its fair share of critics but has been widely praised by the masses.
Releasing for a pretty penny of $268 and exclusively at Cole Haan SoHo in New York City, they’ll be a hot commodity on the secondary shoe market. The shoes are releasing in three colorways for men and four for women, further extending their mass appeal.
The design of the shoes is innovative and pushes the market for conservative dress shoes as well as the market for dress attire in general.
London’s fashion week runway shows came to a close last week. I thought I would indulge myself in watching a few of the runway shows along with checking out a few stills from various lines.
I immediately fell in love with Burberry’s Autumn/Winter line. I watched the entire video of the runway show and was enthralled with the earthy colors and textures. The tiered pencil shirts with lace and the long, dramatic coats with bows cinched at the waist made my jaw drop. I enjoyed that most of these pieces could be wearable day to day, unlike Alexander McQueen’s line, where my sight might be obstructed. The greenhouse aspect along with the final walk, including umbrellas and rain, really brought the line together.
I decided to take a look at a few of my favorite pieces pricewise. I’ve concluded that I can either get one of these dazzling coats or give up my meal plan. Maybe next year. Let’s just hope that H&M or Forever 21 can produce products slightly similar to this in the future for my wallet’s sake.
By Liam Zanyk McLean
Last updated: 02/28/12 7:28pm
Dyslexia, a condition that makes reading and writing difficult by making letters seem jumbled or even backwards, affects about 5 to 10 percent of the population. Although dyslexia does not prohibit comprehension of text, dyslexic people generally are forced to read more slowly and with more concentration. Recent research on this affliction has given typographers new areas to design in attempts to ease the difficulties that come with dyslexia.
Most of these fonts, however, are very expensive and sometimes even difficult to acquire. One font, known as dyslexie, costs at least $400, depending on the number of licenses purchased. Dyslexie’s website describes the font as “Not a cure, but it can be something like a wheelchair.”
One lesser-known typographer, however, has developed a cheaper, similar font that can be purchased for $20 via paypal. This typeface, known as Gill Dyslexic is available in standard and mono (wider) versions.
As research into learning disabilities becomes a key part of health care, I am hopeful that fonts like these can come standard on all computers, and even on the open web. Although web browsers are somewhat limited now in terms of typographics, Internetwide updates like the introduction of HTML5 will likely give web designers more flexibility.
Since my mind seems to be stuck on one thing and one thing alone, I figured I might as well give in to my apparitions of hot sunshine and beach-filled days. I’ve been dreaming of trading in my riding boots and chunky sweaters for gladiators and bikinis. With spring break so close, I can practically feel the sand up my suit. Here’s a list of 10 things I love for spring break 2012.
10. Nude wedges — These are perfect for a night out paired with skinny jeans or a sundress. Since they tend to blend in with skin, they’ll make your tanned legs look a million miles long and won’t kill your feet if you’ve got a night of dancing ahead.
9. Lace headband — I have to have my hair back when I’m out in the sun, and this lace one from Urban Outfitters is too cute to resist.
8. Beach tote — You’ll want something to carry your towel, iPod, book and sunscreen in, so find a large tote for your days at the beach. I really like this striped one from Victoria’s Secret.
7. Braids — I love bangs that are braided back into a ponytail. This look is not too hard to do and can be done using a regular braid or a French braid. Lauren Conrad made this look popular and for good reason — it makes you instantly look more polished.
6. Crossbody purse — This is a must for busy days and nights. It keeps your cash and other valuables close to you at all times without weighing you down.
5. Spring-patterned TOMS — I absolutely love the new floral ones. They have so many bright colors and provide the perfect pop of color to an outfit.
4. Floral wayfarer shades — My favorite pair came from American Eagle Outfitters a couple of seasons ago. The frames fit my face well, and the floral pattern is eye-catching and fun.
3. Beachy waves — Straightening your hair for a day at the beach is just dumb. I like to quickly style mine with a paste, giving hair a subtle wave which intensifies throughout the day.
2. Tribal patterns — It’s cute on tanktops, dresses, shorts or bags. This trend is popping up everywhere and is perfect for completing a beachy look.
1. Mismatched swimsuit — I’ve recently embraced this trend of matching a solid top or bottom with a print piece. I love this look because you can mix and match different suits — perfect for a weeklong trip.
The recent book adaptation that has been the latest craze in society has been haunting me for the past few months. The Hunger Games has been sweeping the nation lately.
Just the other day, I was in the library with one of my friends, and a fellow student was sitting next to me reading the popular novel. I see the covers all over campus, not to mention the movie trailer that has fans buzzing with excitement and is all over my Facebook feed.
I became one of those people refusing to read the series due to its fandom. I didn’t want to become one of those Twihards or Potterheads for the series. Then the worst happened, my IAH prof decided to make The Hunger Games a required reading. I read the book in two nights and fell in love.
Through my recent adoration for the first book, I discovered a blog dedicated to the fashion aspect of the series along with movie updates. The site profiles different characters and highlights certain fashion pieces that define the character’s specific style. It’s interesting to see how a fictional style can be brought to life by high fashion pieces. The advertisements and looks are realistic to the point that they could be used in magazine ads or seen on billboards.
This is a great marketing strategy to get current fans even more excited about the film along with gaining some new fans. Making the characters realistic and their looks obtainable unifies the series with society through realistic products. Staying true to the specific style of the characters gives the audience a closer connection to the cast, showing how the right type of design can create a larger hype.
By Liam Zanyk McLean
Last updated: 02/14/12 7:55pm
In major European soccer leagues, jersey sponsorships and design are a very big deal to fans. Unlike major American sports leagues like the NFL, soccer clubs can choose any manufacturer to design their shirts. The most common choices are Nike, Adidas and Puma.
Most clubs change their home and away jerseys (known as ‘kits’ in soccer speak) every two years. In the summer, as off-season boredom takes hold, keen fans scour the Internet in search of leaked images of their club’s new kit. Some are fake, but typically recognized easily as such, and others are debated on message boards about their validity.
But in 2011, one fan, known only as “Michael”, took fake kit designing a step further.
Atletico Madrid, a club in the Spanish first division largely outshone by its crosstown rivals Real Madrid, was set to release a new kit at the end of the 2010-11 season.
One bored, unidentified fan found a design for a then-unconfirmed Barcelona kit online, and used a similar design to create a kit for Atletico Madrid.
Quickly, internet message boards lit up in anger over the fake kit, which was widely interpreted as real. Spanish newspapers carried the story, and an Asian company that makes knock-off soccer gear decided to start manufacturing and selling the fake jersey. It can be seen here.
The shirt can still be purchased on the Internet, despite the release of the actual version, which is a lot simpler than the fake.
Atletico’s fans are believed to be happy with the actual kit, and “Michael” has become a bit of a celebrity in the soccer kit design world.